Who will the EPL 2018/19 season? Team previews & betting tips
The transfer window is closing, the pre-season friendlies are coming to an end, and the heroes of this summer’s World Cup are returning to their teams. That can only mean one thing – the 2018/19 EPL season is about to start!
With less than a week to go, it’s time to weigh up the chances of the league’s big boys of winning the title this year, to bring you a special betting tips outright betting edition. We’ll go in-depth with each of last season’s top six as we ask the question, who will win the 2018/19 EPL season? Find out right here.
- Last season: Champions
- Top scorer: Sergio Agüero
- Bookmakers prediction: 1st
- Odds to win:4/6
What are their chances?
It’s little surprise that Manchester City are favourites once again this year. In a record breaking season, the Citizens scored 106 goals while conceding just 27, and finished on exactly 100 points, the highest total scored by any club in a single season. But that wasn’t the only record Guardiola’s team broke. Those 106 goals were a record, along with the 32 wins beating Chelsea’s 30 from 2016/17. The list goes on and on, from most consecutive wins (18) to more obscure stats, such as least amount of time trailing (153 minutes) and the most possession in a game (82.95%).
After such a dominant season, City are big favourites to put in a repeat showing. They’ve strengthened their squad even further, having finally completed the signing of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester for £60m. There are also no new injuries in the squad, but that doesn’t mean Pep will be able to choose from his entire squad in the opening weeks of the season. The World Cup will hit City harder than any other team. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, and Gabriel Jesus all went far in this summer’s World Cup, meaning they have only just joined up with the team. They are unlikely to be fully match fit until a few weeks into the season. But that shouldn’t effect things too much for Pep. The depth of the City team eclipses anything else in the league and coping with a few matches without a handful of key players should be easily manageable.
Goalkeeper Ederson had a great first season in the league, as did Leroy Sané, who should channel the disappointment of not being selected for Germany’s doomed World Cup squad into what could be an explosive season. Guardiola will be pleased to welcome Benjamin Mendy back from injury. The full-back missed almost all of last season through injury, but will return stronger than ever this season, and could emerge a key member of the team.
The opening fixtures have been fairly kind to Guardiola. A potentially tricky trip to the Emirates on the opening day of the season is followed by Huddersfield, newly promoted Wolves, Newcastle, then the two other newly promoted teams, Fulham and Cardiff. Aside from the match against Arsenal, these all rank low on the fixture difficulty index, so we should expect City to get off to a strong start. They did the business on Saturday, easily brushing aside Chelsea to claim the Community Shield. While we shouldn’t put too much stock in that and other pre-season results, it is likely to be a taste of things to come.
Prediction: Winners – The bookmakers have City as huge favourites and we find it hard to disagree. It should be closer than last season, but with Pep at the helm and a squad that’s somehow even stronger than last year, we just can’t see City not winning.
Rest of the top 6
We’ve looked at last season’s winners, so now let’s turn to the five other teams that made up last season’s top six. Manchester United were runners up despite being a massive 19 points behind City. Chelsea famously missed out on a Champions League place, while Arsenal once again could only manage a Europa league finish. Can those two teams find a way back? Let’s find out.
- Last season: Runners up
- Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku
- Bookmakers prediction: 3rd
- Odds to win:7/1
What are their chances?
Manchester United finished runners up last season, but they were still a long way off their neighbours Manchester City. Closing the gap will be the first order of business for José Mourinho, who will also start the season without key team members such as Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba, who went deep into the World Cup. But Mourinho has been quicker to go about his business than Guardiola. Fred has been the big-name signing, though Diogo Dalot has also been brought in to support Antonio Valencia at right back. Anthony Martial could be one name leaving Old Trafford, with the forward reportedly unhappy with the lack of first team football, though Mourinho appears reluctant to sell to a Premier League rival.
But there’s plenty more work to be done and rumours suggest Mourinho is desperate to add at least a couple more new names to his squad. Gareth Bale and Ivan Perišić are two names being floated, but they both seem unlikely. Despite having the league’s best defence last year, Mourinho will see it as necessary to strengthen in that area. That means first holding on to David de Gea. Despite a poor World Cup, de Gea is undoubtedly one of the world’s best goalkeepers, and has been vital for United the last two seasons. But a top-class centre-back is seen as a must. Rumours suggest Mourinho is set to make an offer for Leicester’s Harry Maguire, who impressed at the World Cup, or Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld, who fell out of favour at Tottenham last season. Either of those could partner Eric Bailly, who was out for some time through injury last year.
A poor pre-season, in which Mourinho has publicly criticised his team and stated they will be in poor shape at the start of the season, will not help the Red Devils face a somewhat tricky start to proceedings. Kicking of the season with a Friday night fixture against Leicester, United face Spurs in gameweek three. While that match is the only one against top six opposition, all of United’s opening five games have a difficulty rating of three or more. With key players absent for the first few weeks, a lot could come down to which names Mourinho can bring to Old Trafford before the transfer window closes.
Prediction: Third – Mourinho has focused his attention on acquiring a World Class centre-back, but that ignores the burden placed on Romelu Lukaku up-front last season. Another forward to suppport Lukaku is needed, though the addition of Fred should allow Pogba to play higher up the pitch, which could work out very well.
- Last season: Third
- Top scorer: Harry Kane
- Bookmakers prediction: 5th
- Odds to win:16/1
What are their chances?
An impressive third place finish maintained Tottenham’s strong record in recent years and ensured they will be back in the Champions League next season. After playing their home games at Wembley last season, fans and players alike can look forward to returning to White Hart Lane this year, but not until September, as the finishing touches will still be being made to the stadium when the Premier League kicks off.
Pochettino has certainly been in no rush to sign players, but with the teams around them doing business, a lot will come down to signing new players. Who comes will likely depend on who goes, with Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembélé all potentially on the way out. Vitally, Pochettino seems to have done enough to have deflected Real Madrid’s and other’s interest in Harry Kane. While Kane may miss a few matches due to the World Cup, he remains Spur’s most vital player. Signing adequate back-up for him is something that Tottenham have failed to do for some time now, with Fernando Llorente currently the reserve striker. As in recent years, you get the feeling that Tottenham are a Kane injury away from disaster.
Kane, Eriksen, Alli, Trippier, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Dier, Dembélé and Hugo Lloris comprise Spur’s long list of World Cup related absentees for the start of the season. That could prove costly, with Spurs facing both Manchester United and Liverpool within the first five gameweeks. But the first two fixtures – away to Newcastle and at home to Fulham – are winnable, should Spurs find a way to conjure goals without Kane.
Prediction: Fifth – This could be a difficult season for Tottenham and some new signings appear essential. Tottenham managed to just finish above Liverpool last season, but with the Reds doing lots of good business, Spurs will have their work cut out to crack the top four again.
- Last season: Fourth
- Top scorer: Mohamed Salah
- Bookmakers prediction: 2nd
- Odds to win:4/1
What are their chances?
Unlike some of the teams around them, Liverpool have wasted no time in getting down to business. In fact, Klopp appears to be finished in the transfer market for this window and it seems unlikely Liverpool will add to their squad. Those purchases have significantly strengthened their team. Naby Keïta, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri have come in to strengthen the midfield for a combined £120m, while Klopp seems to have finally solved the goalkeeper conundrum after signing Alisson from Roma for a world record £66m.
After the arrival of Virgil van Dijk toughened up the defence last season, Liverpool now look a complete side. However, they will be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is out for the entire season after the extent of the injury he suffered late last season was made clear recently. We haven’t even mentioned last season’s record breaker, the 32-goal man Mohamed Salah. It’s unlikely he can re-create his exploits of last season, but just getting close should mean that Liverpool are there or there abouts. With Sadio Mané having a good World Cup, Liverpool’s front-three of Mané, Salah and Firmino is perhaps the most dangerous in the league.
Further good news for Liverpool is that unlike their rivals they do not have many World Cup related absentees. Dejan Lovren will be late back, but Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino are the only other two who went far in Russia. Liverpool could be the team to set the pace then, facing West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton in the first three. The games get much trickier after that, with away trips to Spurs and Chelsea followed by a visit from Manchester City between gameweeks five and eight. That period could go a long way to influencing where Liverpool stand at the end of the season.
Prediction: Second – This is an improved Liverpool from last season who should now be without the costly mistakes from their goalkeeper. If they manage to avoid injuries to key players and if the front three can perform anything like they did last season, they could be in with a real shot.
- Last season: Fifth
- Top scorer: Eden Hazard
- Bookmakers prediction: 4th
- Odds to win:12/1
About the Game:
Chelsea, along with Arsenal, are one of two teams where major changes are taking place. Gone is Antonio Conte, who won the league in his first season, but failed to finish in the Champions League places in his last. Replacing him is former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri. Sarri has never won a domestic title in his career, but did come very close last year with Napoli. That means that it’s difficult to know what to expect from Chelsea this season and expectations may have to be tempered somewhat. But, if Sarri’s exploits at Napoli are anything to go by, then Chelsea fans should be able to look forward to a much more attacking style of ‘Sarri-ball’.
The immediate change seems to be reverting to a back four, which further suggests a more attacking brand of football. But Chelsea fans will also be worried. Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona, are after perhaps Chelsea’s two best players, Eden Hazard and Willian, respectively. Success this season could hinge on keeping hold of those two, especially Eden Hazard, who gave the world a reminder of his talents with some stunning performances during the World Cup. Should Sarri convince both to stay, then Chelsea could be real challengers this season. Sarri wasted no time bringing in perhaps the signing of the summer, Jorginho, along with him from his ex-club Napoli. Jorginho had a fantastic debut against Perth Glory and he and N’Golo Kante could form perhaps the best central midfield pairing this season. Elsewhere, Sarri has told Álvaro Morata that he is placing trust in him, but Morata has not been able to improve his poor form throughout pre-season.
The opening fixtures have mostly been kind to Sarri and Chelsea. A trip to Huddersfield for the opening match of the season is followed by a London derby against Arsenal, but three winnable games follow, against Newcastle, Bournemouth and Cardiff. The Blues could get off to a great start then and we expect to see some great football from them. Being in the Europa League may be a blessing rather than a curse, as Sarri would likely look to field a second-string side in that competition unlike opposition teams playing in the Champions League. But, Chelsea this season are an unknown quality and it’s difficult to see them hitting the ground running, especially with a number of players absent due to their World Cup exploits. A top four finish is the target, but we fear there is a real chance Chelsea may miss out again.
Prediction: Fourth – Much will come down to whether Chelsea can hang on to Eden Hazard, but with a new manager and a new formation, things may take a while to click. Still, Chelsea have made some smart signings and should be more exciting to watch than in recent years, and we can see them just nudging out rivals Spurs for a top four finish.
- Last season: Sixth
- Top scorer: Alexandre Lacazette
- Bookmakers prediction: 6th
- Odds to win:20/1
About the Game:
The other of two teams to change their manager, Arsenal got their man early and appointed Unai Emery as the man to replace Arsene Wenger back in May. Emery did well at PSG and the mood at the Emirates suggests that most are happy with the appointment. Emery has also wasted no time to put his stamp down on the club, completing a number of signings early on in the transfer window. The business looks like good business too. Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichtsteiner will shore up the defence, while Lucas Torreira has signed from Sampdoria to feature in midfield. Emery is also looking to prise Steven N’Zonzi from Sevilla. N’Zonzi played under Emery at Sevilla and the World Cup winner could be the man to add some mettle to the Arsenal midfield.
This is a new era for Arsenal. After over 20 years in the job, Arsene Wenger finally stepped down from the managerial role this summer. How Arsenal react to such massive change remains to be seen, but make no mistake, this is the start of a new era. It comes after seasons of disappointment, so many at the Emirates think the only way is up. And they have every right to feel that way. Wenger’s parting gift to Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – hit the ground running and scored ten goals in just over 1000 minutes of football last season and could prove to be the deadliest striker this season. Emery has already bolstered the defence and if he can get the best from Mesut Özil and co in midfield, Arsenal could be a surprise package this season.
They will be put to the test early however. Arsenal face the hardest of starts as they host Manchester City in their first match. Daunting as it is, with City significantly weakened through absentees, Arsenal have every chance to go for a win. That would be a real signal of intent, but they then face Chelsea in the very next match. The fixtures are all kind for some time after that, so you have the feeling that if Arsenal start strongly, anything is possible. However, this is a completely new era at the Emirates and time may be required for things to settle.
Prediction: Sixth – We feel that Arsenal still need to add a bit more quality in defence and midfield to really challenge for the top four. But, with Emery at the helm it’s the start of a new era in North London and quite frankly, anything could happen.
Outright bets for the 2018/19 EPL season: Our Picks*
|Type||Bet||Odds||Return from £10|
|EPL winners||Manchester City||4/6||£16.66|
|Top Scorer||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||7/1||£80.00|
|To be relegated||Huddersfield||6/5||£22.00|
|Not to finish in top four||Tottenham||1/1||20.00|
Bookie of the week: Our Pick
Grosvenor are our bookie of the week. To find out all you need to know about Grosvenor you can read our Grosvenor review.
* All our selections are provided for entertainment only and should only be used for informational purposes. Whilst we use our experience and knowledge to help inform you to make a considered bet, we are not responsible for any losses that may arise from actual results being different than predicted.